Madhya Pradesh vaccinated more than 10 lakh beneficiaries in the age group 15-18 on the first day of drive for them on Monday, placing it on top among states in terms of jabs, state medical education minister Vishvas Sarang said as the nation rolled out its inoculation programme for children against coronavirus amid a surge in new cases.
“Till now (up to Monday evening) 10,02,000 children in the age group of 15-18 were vaccinated (with first dose) in the state and Madhya Pradesh is leading in the country in inoculating kids in this group,” Sarang told PTI. “We are still compiling the final figures as data from four to five districts was yet to arrive and the final count will certainly go up further,” he said.
Earlier in the day, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan launched the vaccination programme in the state at the Government Subhash Higher Secondary School in Bhopal for the 15-18 age group with an aim to cover 48 lakh beneficiaries in the new category till January 20. Chouhan said on the occasion that a third wave of COVID-19 looks imminent, but instead of getting scared, people should fight the pandemic bravely.
At present, more than 95 per cent of the eligible population (over 18 years) in Madhya Pradesh is vaccinated with the first dose, while 92 per cent has received the second shot as well, he said. The CM said economic and educational activities cannot be stopped in the state and they will continue in a normal manner, but at the same time it is absolutely necessary that people wear face masks and follow all protocols in the backdrop of rising coronavirus cases and growing threat of the Omicron variant.
Sarang informed that inoculation of the 15-18 age group has been undertaken at 8,923 centres in the state and at present children are being administered Covaxin, a two-dose vaccine developed in the country. The minister said the government has set a target to vaccinate all eligible 48 lakh children in the age group of 15-18 in the state with the first dose by January 20.
Meanwhile, a Class 10 student, Asmit Bhargava, expressed happiness over receiving the vaccine. “I am happy with the vaccination. Because of a lockdown last year our classes and examination were not held in offline mode which disappointed me. After inoculation, coronavirus will be under control and our offline classes as well as exams will be held in a normal manner," he said.
Another beneficiary, Kartik Singh Thakur, a student of Class 11, said, “I am feeling happy after getting vaccinated. All of us should get inoculated against coronavirus at the earliest." A girl student of Grade 11, Rachna Rajput, hoped the vaccination will help in stemming the spread of coronavirus. “After vaccination coronavirus will not spread and our studies, too, will not get affected. Even examinations can be held in an offline mode," she said.
Other students who were vaccinated on the first day were elated as they felt it will give them an opportunity to attend regular classes and praised the Centre for its decision to inoculate children in the 15-18 age group.
With inputs from PTI.